Mexicans Paid $1.8 B In Bribes: Study

Reuters, May 10, 2006

Mexico City,: Six years after Mexicans kicked out a government seen as corrupt, public graft is still widespread, and people paid an estimated $ 1.8 billion to traffic cops, city hall clerks, garbage collectors and other officials last year, according to a study.

Mexicans paid bribes—known in Mexico as ‘mordidas’ or ‘little bites’—10 per cent of the time they dealt with government officials last year, according to a study by the Mexican Chapter of Transparency International.

This included run-ins with police, applying for permits and even having mail delivered, and the group estimated Mexicans paid out about $ 1.8 billion last year.

When Mr Vicente Fox became the President of Mexico in 2000, he ended 71 years of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which critics say was riddled with nepotism, theft and other abuses of power. Mexicans had expected Mr Fox’s administration to bring a reduction in public corruption.

The rate last year compared to bribery 9 per cent of the time in a 2003 study and 11 per cent in 2001, Transparency Mexico head, Mr Federico Reyes told reporters. No figures were collected before then.

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